As election day approaches, members of both political parties are confident in their candidates. Sen. Thomas Kean, the minority leader, told NJ Today Managing Editor Mike Schneider that Mitt Romney offers voters a presidential candidate that is willing to work across party lines and Joe Kyrillos would be a better senator than Bob Menendez.
Kean said Romney showed a strong performance in all three presidential debates, as did Paul Ryan in the vice presidential debate, which shows the pair are ready for their desired roles. He said they offer voters a contrast to Barack Obama and Joe Biden “who’ve not worked across party lines to find solutions.”
The senator is confident Romney would benefit the country. “Mitt Romney’s comfortable in his lead, he’s comfortable in his effort to date. He’s comfortable he can govern the country in an effective way so that bipartisan reforms — the likes of which have not been seen in Washington, D.C. in the last several years — will actually be accomplished,” Kean said. “He will be a great leader.”
Polls have shown Kyrillos trailing Menendez in the bid for U.S. Senate, but Kean said he’s not disappointed in Kyrillos’ campaign and that Kyrillos offers more solutions than Menendez. “Right now, with Bob Menendez in the United States Senate, New Jersey gets 62 cents back for every dollar it sends down to Washington D.C.,” Kean said. “He’s done nothing about it and in fact many people don’t see him frequently here in New Jersey at all.”
In contrast, Kean said Kyrillos has been traveling throughout the state and was involved in crafting policies that help attract businesses and jobs to New Jersey. “He’s an innovative leader and I think people are excited about Joe Kyrillos’ efforts and Joe Kyrillos is working hard to make this a real successful campaign,” Kean said.
Democrats have criticized Gov. Chris Christie’s revenue projections as being overly optimistic and Christie’s administration has warned Wall Street that revenues might be lower than expected and therefore the state budget might have to change mid-year. Kean said Christie is being fiscally responsible by relaying the information.
“I think it’s a very clear contrast between what this governor has shown very publicly versus what Jon Corzine showed both as governor and then as his successive career where he was not entirely clear with the people who sought to invest in his company,” Kean said. “I think the governor’s being responsible.”
Kean doesn’t rule out the possibility that state revenue might meet Christie’s projections, however, citing recent news reports. He also said Christie should continue to fight for an income tax cut that would benefit state residents, as well as continue efforts to make sure county and municipal governments are running more efficiently. He said Republicans in the Senate and Assembly have fought for those solutions while Democrats haven’t moved on them.
“A decade ago, New Jersey increased its budget by 17 percent in one year and that year the rallying cry was, ‘We must have the courage to spend.’ Well the Democrats who were supporting that budget and the governor who signed it were wrong,” Kean said. “And I think Chris Christie was a real contrast where he’s shown we must have the ability to make sure that we create opportunities, we reduce the tax burden on the hard working citizens of New Jersey and provide fiscal responsibility and long term growth.”